Currently, in the Language Arts department of my district, students are expected to maintain portfolios that contain their writing pieces from English class in ninth through twelfth grade. These portfolios are difficult to organize and are often lost. Students do not see the value in them, and they are not required to reflect on the learning process that took place in the creation of them. When they graduate, they take them home and bury them under their beds or recycle them on the way out of the building. They do not realize how much value these portfolios could hold.
Therefore, we are proposing a solution that will not only simplify this process but will also add value to their personal growth as learners. By transitioning this from a hard copy assessment portfolio to an ongoing learning ePortfolio, students will be able to take ownership of their development and will be able to continue to build upon them in the future.
We are proposing to initiate the use of an ePortfolio in which:
- all ninth grade students will take a one semester course, two days a week, in which they are taught how to build an ePortfolio
- students will use WordPress, which is a free platform that has multiple privacy options
- students would reflect on their personal and educational development
- cross-curricular learning can be organized
- students would be able to utilize the ePortfolio after graduating
Currently, ninth grade students have study halls built into their schedules. Because of this, the addition of the ePortfolio course should not create a scheduling conflict. There would be eight sections total. Two teachers from each core subject area (math, history, English, science) would run a section of this course two days a week during the same class period he/she has a study hall. A third day during that same period would be dedicated to planning, grading, and collaborating; during the other two days those teachers would have their regularly scheduled study halls. Student schedules would consist of two days of the ePortfolio class and three days of study hall.
As indicated in the provided literature review, research indicates that well-designed learning ePortfolios allow for students to have more ownership. Therefore, implementing learning ePortfolios at the beginning of ninth grade will allow students to have more ownership over their learning from the moment they walk into the doors at the high school. This ownership will then carry over into each of their classes as they reflect on their learning. The curriculum that we will construct for this course will provide guidelines and suggestions for how to get started and how to build it using WordPress, but the students will have control over their ePortfolios.
We would also like to propose to the English department that we add ePortfolio requirements to the curriculum to provide students with structured time throughout their high school years to continue developing and utilizing it to its fullest potential. This will improve intrinsic motivation with how they approach their ePortfolio because it will be uniquely theirs and a representation of their high school learning.